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Congratulations 60 and 70-Year Jubilarians

Commissioning Reflection

Sister Nicole Kunze, Prioress

August 7, 2021

Give your life to the Lord.  Trust God to act on your behalf.  (Psalm 37:5)

In the days before my 25th jubilee celebration, I took some time to pray in front of the icon of the Annunciation in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of Our Lady of the Annunciation Chapel.  The Gospel for the Jubilee Mass was the Annunciation, so I prayed with it while looking at Mary in the icon.  In my prayer, the word “Trust” came to me.  I felt called to trust like Mary did when the angel visited her.  I wondered if “Trust” should be my focus word for the next 25 years of my monastic life.  The homily and instruction from the Jubilee Mass both mentioned trust, so that confirmed my wondering.   

In his homily that day, Monsignor James Shea reflected on Mary’s patient trust.  To quote from his homily: “She would need to repeat that “Yes,” that Fiat, every morning of her life.  She kept considering the call the Lord had given her as life’s circumstances were changing.”  We have all experienced life’s circumstances changing personally and communally.  Whether we’ve been in community a few years or many more than a few, we have experienced changes in our life’s circumstances.  It may be a ministry change, a new house charge, or accepting changes in your health or abilities due to age or illness.  We know Mary can be our example in saying yes, regardless of what we face.   

Each of us has to repeat our “Yes”, just like Mary, each and every day.  Some days, our “Yes” is quick and immediate.  Other days, we may start sounding out the “N” of “No” before changing it to “Yes”.  Many times, we may be quite tentative, holding onto that vowel sound of “Yes” forever until we get the “S” sound out.  We can’t opt out, deferring our answer to the question until tomorrow.  The Lord asks us to answer our call each and every day. 

In answering that call, none of us knows what tomorrow holds for us or our community.  We may have our own ideas – but we know something completely unexpected can happen and our ideas will disappear like writing on a chalkboard after the eraser goes over it.  That is where the mantra from Father Jerome Kodell can assist us.  He described it as a mantra which sums up what God says to us in scripture: “I am with you.  I love you. Trust me.” 

Trusting God and trusting my sister in community means letting go of control, whatever control I believe I may have.  Trusting requires some patience, letting things happen in their time, not my time.  I know I need to trust each of you more than I do at times.  I can get stuck believing I know best, that I can do it myself and I’m not be open to the wisdom that each of you possesses. 

As a community, we need to trust in what we are doing, trust that we will be open to the Spirit and whatever it calls us to do.  I believe we are a trusting community and good things are happening with us and through us.  I think of the growth in our oblate program, how active our oblates are becoming and the formation program that we’ve begun.  The gift of the Benedictine Volunteers over the years and just this summer, has required us to open our doors and trust that these women will grow during their time with us and that they will teach us a thing or two also.  We’ve had some discerner visits recently and I trust that meeting these women will be beneficial to them and us.  There is still room for us to trust more.  Opportunities will come up and it can be too easy to stay with the status quo or to let fear overwhelm us.  We need to remain open, trusting that God will guide us.

I offer you a scripture verse to reflect on this year.  One of my favorites in recent years comes from Psalm 37, verse 5 - Give your life to the Lord.  Trust God to act on your behalf.  I chose to use the ICEL version from our prayer book so you can recognize it as it cycles through our evening prayer.  It speaks of Mary’s “yes”, and our own “yes” to the Lord.  We give our life to the Lord regardless of our circumstances in life and trust that God is there. 

As I conclude, I would invite each of you to come forward and receive a card that has verse 5 from Psalm 37 printed on it and a nature or flower photo I took, some on our property, most from the local area.  However you choose to use this card, whether displayed in your prayer space or as a bookmark, I would hope it helps you to say “Yes” to the Lord and trust God to act on your behalf. 

Give your life to the Lord.  Trust God to act on your behalf.  (Psalm 37:5)